Showing posts with label George Martin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label George Martin. Show all posts

Monday, July 19, 2021

New documentary looks at George Martin's ill-fated AIR Studios on Montserrat

The Beatles' producer set up a state of the art studio in paradise, where many artists recorded until the facility was wiped out by natural disaster. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Vintage clippings: George Martin and the launch of Radio One

On Sept. 20, 1967, the BBC launched Radio One, its first station dedicated to pop music. The station and format was spurred into being from the commercial offshore "pirate" radio stations broadcasting into England from international waters.

Obviously, the pirates and Radio 1 played a lot of Beatles music, and the new station commissioned the band's producer, George Martin, to pen a theme song for its launch, which he titled "Theme One."
Here are some vintage clippings about the station's launch, followed by Martin's theme.

Monday, May 7, 2018

George Martin's AIR Studios for sale

The current site of AIR Studios, opened by Beatles producer George Martin, is for sale, Billboard reports.

Film scores for Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Wonder Woman, Justice League and Alien Covenant are among recent projects recorded at the state-of-the-art studio, based at Lyndhurst Hall, a Grade II listed converted church in Hampstead, North London, since 1991. 

Prior to that, AIR -- which stands for Associated Independent Recording -- was located in central London. A sister studio in the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat was opened by George Martin in 1979. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

50 years ago today: George Martin's "Theme One" launches BBC Radio 1

Fifty years ago today, the BBC (sort of) shrugged off its stuffy mantle and entered the world of pop music radio.

Radio 1 launched in response to the popularity of England's pirate radio stations. At a time when there were few commercial alternatives to the government-run Beeb, the likes of Radio London and Radio Caroline broadcast the latest pop music from ships parked in international waters off the nation's cost.

The pirate stations took their cues from American Top 40 radio, with chatty deejays, chart tunes and snappy jingles, and Radio 1 assumed the same template.

Artists such as Jimi Hendrix and The Who recorded jingles for the new station and George Martin composed and recorded its theme song, the groovy orch-psych instrumental "Theme One."

"Theme One" was the first music listeners to the new station heard following an initial welcome from BBC Controller Sir Robin Scott. After the theme, chirpy deejay Tony Blackburn came on to introduce the first proper tune of the day, "Flowers in the Rain," by the Move.

"Theme One" was played on Radio 1 at the start of each broadcast day through the mid 1970s and was later featured on the station in a cover version recorded by Van Der Graaf Generator.

You can hear the original version on the highly recommended Produced by George Martin box set.

The BBC is celebrating Radio 1's anniversary this weekend with a "pop-up station" that will replicate Blackburn's first broadcast and air highlights from the station's history. Listen here.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

George Martin instrumental works set for new album - video preview

George Martin: the Film Scores and Original Orchestral Compositionsout Nov. 10 on the Atlas Realisations label, collects newly recorded instrumental works by the late Beatles producer.


This recording collects - for the first time - the major orchestral works of iconic composer, arranger and producer George Martin. Performed by the Berlin Music Ensemble conducted by Craig Leon, the album features music from the films Yellow Submarine, Live and Let Die and the previously unrecorded choral and orchestral score for The Mission. Also included are the Overture to Under Milk Wood, the suite Three American Sketches and other previously unreleased original compositions. 

The music is performed by the Berlin Music Ensemble under the direction of Craig Leon.

Here's a preview video:

And here's the tracklist:

       1. Pepperland
  2. March of the Meanies
  3. Sea of Holes
  4. Sea of Monsters
  5. Pepperland Reprise
  6. Whisper Who Dares
  7. Bond Meets Solitaire
  8. Snakes Alive
  9. Baron Samedi's Dance of Death
  10. Westward Look!
  11. Old Boston
  12. New York, New York
  13. Judy's Theme
  14. Under Milk Wood (Main Theme)
  15. Love Duet
  16. Waldo's Song
  17. Belle Étoile
  18. Waltz in D Minor for Flute and Chamber Orchestra
  19. Prelude for Strings
  20. Prelude
  21. Chorale 1
  22. Chorale 2
  23. Orchestral Interlude
  24. Chorale 3
  25. Chorale 4
  26. Orchestral Interlude 2
  27. Chorale 5
  28. Chorale 6
  29. Chorale 7

Monday, June 12, 2017

Abbey Road Studio selling prints of George Martin's "Yesterday" score

You can order here. It's pricey, at $312, but nice.

This limited edition replica score comes from the Sir George Martin Collection and it features a hand numbered certificate of authentication with printed signature.

Presented in a handmade ribbon bound portfolio and numbered 1 to 500, Yesterday is the first track ever by The Beatles to feature a string quartet and a major radio hit at the time, its distinctive string arrangement by George Martin was recorded in Studio Two on June 14th 1965. Featuring Sir Paul McCartney on his Epiphone Texan acoustic guitar, accompanied by an understated but eloquent string section, Yesterday was a very important song for The Beatles, as well as the first time that they recorded with musicians from outside the group, paving the way for later sonic experimentation.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Beatles Bits

This lovely pic of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr made the social media rounds in advance of "The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years" premiere this week.


The New York Fair could've scooped Ed Sullivan by bringing the Beatles to America several months  ahead of their February 1964 U.S. television debut, a former disk jockey claims.
Phil Schwartz said he was on the air at York’s WSBA-AM radio station in the late 1970s when the station’s news reporter Robert Markham read him an interesting article that came through the wire service.

“Anxious to book a popular band for the 1963 Great York Fair, several Fair board members stood around a phonograph listening to an obscure British rock group,” the article said. “After a few songs, the consensus among the board members was clear. This band will never sell out the grandstand. And so, the York Fair refused to book the Beatles.”

The article then quoted former York Fair board member George Hartenstein, who said, “When (the Beatles) played on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ several months later, the board realized they made a mistake.”
 The fair, however, did include performances by Anita Bryant, Guy Lombardo and accordionist Myron Floren.


Ringo Starr and Yoko Ono are among celebrities lending support to We Are Not Afraid, "a global campaign aimed at raising funds for the refugee crisis and victims of religious and political violence."

According to Rolling Stone, the campaign:

... centers around the song "We Are Not Afraid" by Nigerian singer Majek Fashek.
On September 29th, a video for the track, directed by Kevin Godley, will features images of the 175 artists involved in the campaign holding signs declaring they are "Not Afraid."
All proceeds generated by the project will be donated to Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC).


The combined sound of the Beatles and their screaming audience at the 1965 Shea Stadium crowd was really loud, new research shows.
Just how loud was the concert? Research conducted by James Dyble from Global Sound Group, which provides audio mixing and mastering services, and shared with Newsweek finds that at 131.35 decibels, the sound within the stadium would have been 28 decibels louder than a jumbo jet flying at 100 feet and 11 decibels louder than a crash of thunder.

EMI wasn't happy about the Beatles' "Twist and Shout" being used in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off,"  the film's music supervisor recalls.
We paid EMI a huge sum of money at the time --- I think it was $100,000. But [EMI execs] weren't happy, because the song was fucked with: Brass was added in the editing room because there was a brass band [in the film]. When you saw the band playing and you're hearing 'Twist and Shout,' it would've been weird if you didn't hear any brass, so they added it in. I don't know if the Beatles weren't happy, or if EMI wasn't happy, but somebody wasn't happy: You're not supposed to fuck with the music.

A judge has ordered Sean Lennon to remove a 70-year-old tree in his front yard because it's leaning over the front stoop of his neighbors, the parents of actress Marisa Tomei.
The Greenwich Village soap opera on West 13th St. has been broiling for years as the tree — leaning toward the sun to the west — has slowly twisted and dislodged the wrought iron handrail on the stoop of the Tomei townhouse.

Unable for years to communicate directly with Lennon, who bought his townhouse in 2008 but only recently started to renovate, Gary Tomei, the actress' father, sued Lennon last year for $10 million.
The judge on the case quoted the Beatles in her ruling:
"No one I think is in my tree, I mean it must be high or low, Strawberry Fields Forever (Lennon/McCartney)," James wrote.

The Daily Mail has a gossipy (surprise!) story about the children of George Martin's first marriage saying they were short-changed in the late producer's will. Unpleasant, but it does share some little covered historical background on Martin and his career.
On one side of the settlement there is his first family, who one old friend described as Martin’s ‘Cinderella’ offspring. On the other, his second — Lady Martin and her children, who have been reaping the rewards of Martin’s success for years.

Stella McCartney went for a spin in George Harrison's old psychedelic mini.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

George Martin - Beyond the Beatles

Sir George Martin, who passed away at age 90 this week, had an invaluable impact on the Beatles' career and sound.

Not only did he sign the Beatles to a recording contract at a time when they'd been rejected by most of the other record labels in Britain, he made early crucial decisions that would define the group.
  • He decided the band's original drummer, Pete Best, was not skilled enough to play with them on record, leading to the group's decision to bring in Ringo Starr.
  • He was open to the group being a group - not just one vocalist and backup musicians. As a result, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison all had vocal features on the Beatles' first album, and Ringo had at least one vocal per album on all the releases that followed.
  • He decided the group could record their own material - a relative rarity at the time, when producers found songs by outside writers for artists to perform.
  • He also played keyboards on many of the Beatles' recordings - most notably the baroque-style piano solo on "In My Life" - and provided orchestral arrangements for many more. 
  • And, with engineer Geoff Emerick, he helped the Beatles expand their sonic palette, creating new sounds and recording techniques in the studio.
In short, the Beatles wouldn't have been the Beatles we know today without him.

But the Beatles weren't Sir George's only claim to fame. He made numerous records both before and after his association with the group and, for anyone deeply interested in the Beatles, they're all worth a listen.

Here's a look at some of the highlights.

The Mersey Beat hits he produced for other acts in manager Brian Epstein's stable, such as:
  • "Little Children" and "Bad to Me" by Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas.
  • "Hello Little Girl" and "I'm in Love" by the Fourmost.
  • "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying," "Ferry Across the Mersey," "How Do You Do It," "You'll Never Walk Alone" and more for Gerry and the Pacemakers.
  • "Love of the Loved" "You're My World" and "It's for You" by Cilla Black.
Ella Fitzgerald's swinging cover of "Can't Buy Me Love."

Songs for films, such as:
  • "Goldfinger" by Shirley Bassey.
  • "Alfie" by Cilla Black.
  • And "Live and Let Die" by Paul McCartney and Wings.
Martin, in fact, wrote the entire instrument score for the "Live and Let Die" film, as he did for the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night" and "Yellow Submarine" films.

Before the Beatles, he had a strong association with members of BBC Radio's "Goon Show" cast, producing comedy/novelty recordings for Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Michael Bentine. In fact, one of his biggest pre-Beatles hits was the novelty song "Goodness Gracious Me," by Sellers and Sophia Loren.

These comedy/novelty records and other early releases that made use of sound effects and odd instruments and arrangements, such as "Time Beat," a single he released as "Ray Cathode," made Martin a perfect match for the Beatles. He'd been experimenting in the recording studio for several years before the Beatles got experimental in the mid 1960s.

Martin kept active as a producer for many years after the Beatles disbanded, too, producing albums for Jeff Beck, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jimmy Webb and solo recordings by Paul McCartney.

Beatles fans who haven't explored Martin's work outside the group will find much of interest to hear.

The major highlights of Martin's work are collected on a now out-of-print, six-disc box set released in 2001, Produced By George Martin: 50 Years of Recording. If you can find a copy, it's well worth picking up. You can also find CD reissues of a few of his instrumental albums released during the Beatles years, such as Off the Beatle Track and the awkwardly titled George Martin Instrumentally Salutes the Beatle Girls.

Martin also wrote two books well worth a read: "All You Need Is Ears: The Inside Personal Story of the Genius Who Created The Beatles" and "With a Little Help from My Friends: The Making of Sgt. Pepper."

The documentary film, "Produced By George Martin," is also highly recommended.

Monday, March 14, 2016

See a teaser for George Martin's upcoming PBS TV series

One of record producer Sir George Martin's final projects is an eight-part TV series that will air on PBS stations in November.

"Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music," features interviews with more than 150 record producers and musicians - including Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney - and was created with the participation of Sir George and his son Giles.

One of the episodes will focus on Martin's work with the Beatles, while other episodes highlight the work of Phil Spector, Brian Eno, Quincy Jones and more.

Martin died last week at age 90.

Here's a clip from the series of Martin talking with Ringo Starr.

And here's a trailer for the five-part series: